Since starting his own bakery in 2006, Kevin Mathieson has helped to transform the city’s bread scene, creating a line of sourdoughs and Dynamite baguettes that— I have argued — set a whole new standard for the staple food in this city. But there is much more to Mathieson than bread. Perhaps he has butter in his veins, but mention vienoisserie —almond croissants, apple turnovers, brioche, danish muffins, and scones — and watch the expression on his face soften, his smile widen, and his speech quicken. For the four years that I have known him, Mathieson has spoken passionately about croissants — longing for them like a lost love.
He and his wife, Stephanie Monnin, have dreamed of expanding their wholesale bakery and operating an industrial-style retail shop with amazing food and great coffee. After struggling for years to find the right location, they recently moved Art-Is-In bakery out of the cramped basement of The Ottawa Bagelshop into a massive industrial space nearly five times the size in City Centre. Not only has Mathieson been able to make room for his dream oven, a custom-designed proofing room, and an enormous walk-in freezer, but he can now develop his beloved menu of morning pastries, including the Art-Is-In croissant.
Mathieson’s romance with buttery breakfast treats began (where else?) in France where he was trained how to make them in the painstakingly traditional way by some of the baking world’s legends. He has been perfecting the recipes for years, as well as developing tons of new items for his shop. The lunchtime menu features soups and fresh, gourmet panini sandwiches, as well as his signature Puglizza – long slices of rustic Pugliese-style bread with various toppings run under a broiler. There will also be plenty of sweets and desserts to be enjoyed later in the day as well as freshly-roasted organic coffee (Awake, a brand sourced from Vermont) and spectacular Cha Yi teas from Gatineau.
The new Art-Is-In Boulangerie (the name now satisfies vendors on the other side of the river) is having its soft opening today (7 a.m. – 7 p.m.) and over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.). See you there!
Art-Is-In Boulangerie, 250 City Centre Ave. # 112-114 (from Scott road), 613-695-1226, www.artisinbakery.com